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From debit to developing IT

"IT'S funny how day-by-day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different," said CS Lewis, British writer, literary scholar and Anglican lay theologian.

So, with all the developments around including, but not limited to technology, economy, trends, laws and regulations, one can simply say that even the accountancy profession has indeed evolved continuously over the past decades, especially in recent years.

For us accountants, when we were studying, we would compare the stories of our professors with what we could foresee about the field by the time we achieve those three letters saying that you are a certified public accountant or CPA — from paper worksheets, columnar books, calculators, pencils and erasers to excel worksheets and, now, to accounting software.

Over the years, decades even, the profession has evolved so much that it is not any more about the journal entries, ledgers and reports allowing the debit-and-credit warriors to wear different capes and use various tools as weapons depending on the tasks and deadlines to face.

Whether you're a business owner, or an accountant employed or outsourced, at some point you may have wondered why accounting is vital and in what ways are these professionals becoming a factor on a company's efficiency, growth and success. It works like salt, costs much less than other ingredients but its absence would spell the difference in the recipe for success of managing a business.

By definition, accounting is just the process of recording, classifying and summarizing of transactions in a significant manner in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of a financial character and interpreting the results thereof. However, looking closer, accountancy and the scope of its fields of specialization are crucial in reducing the expenses and losses attributable to the proper practice of outsourced professionals and accounting managers alike.

For instance, if an effective system of accounting is set up well in an entity or outsourced with a competent firm, it would somehow be part of internal control — checking the existence and accuracy of financial records, thereby lessening the probability of fraud or error that might lead to misappropriation of funds. Often, this is a major factor present in cases involving theft by personnel — the lack of proper accounting and internal controls.

Another thing — for added reliability on the financial statements, auditing procedures should be in place to give reasonable assurance that the reports will be free from material misstatements. This will give the stakeholders a glimpse into the entity's actual performance and financial condition that will be of utmost consideration in making strategic decisions. Proper internal and external audits have prevented or at least detected several fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations that may have led to losses or incurring them further, if not acted upon accordingly.

An increasingly important aspect of accountancy is ensuring compliance with relevant tax laws, to be updated with Bureau of Internal Revenue regulations, Securities and Exchange Commission requirements and other regulatory bodies to manage risks, minimize or reduce penalties, and avail of applicable tax benefits while being transparent in financial reporting practices in accordance with applicable accounting standards and framework.

In addition, practitioners, especially those dealing with small- and medium-scale businesses engaged in consulting services, are expected not only to be adept with accounting but also be familiar with management, business operations, labor laws, the corporate code, or at least, have the skills to learn or research about these things when the need arises. The environment surrounding entities constantly go through a dynamic pace of change, requiring entrepreneurs and accountancy professionals alike to embrace transformations and new trends to enhance their skills and delve into various fields related to evolving needs of business owners and other stakeholders. Therefore, it is imperative to be knowledgeable in these areas and develop oneself to remain competitive in maintaining levels of client service quality.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are now witnessing an accelerated transition to remote work arrangements and virtual collaboration, cloud-based accounting, audit software and tools, seamless communication, online facilities and blockchain technology, forensic accounting and cybersecurity. This places an emphasis on our flexibility to acquire proficiency in learning these concepts and creating innovative responses to obtain efficiency and effectiveness in our programs and procedures handling the deliverables, and beating deadlines amid these trends shaping and shifting business landscapes.

Debit to Dev IT, as in developing information technology, this profession that has adapted the technological advancements from excel to accounting software, business intelligence tools and even data analytics that can interpret vast amounts and financial data with enhanced accuracy and integrity to enable techniques identifying trends, patterns and irregularities within volume of transactions. It paved the way to helping with systems implementation and monitoring as part of service to clients or integrated roles contributing to the operations management and finance department, which is more prevalent in the business process outsourcing industry. The company owners delegate the accounting process, tax compliance and relevant requirements to a team that can also provide advisory services on matters arising from the business transactions and financial records.

Accountancy, in recent times, indeed, encompasses more fields, more project codes and more roles outside the traditional job description, so when you deal with accountants and auditors, see them as your allies and not enemies. Focus not just on the compensation and fees they deduct on the income but on the value of knowledge or expertise added to the business. And if you are wearing the same hat, salute, for CPA also means continuing passionate assistance to our clients; competent professional adaptability to changes; and credible persistent accountability.


Bennylyn R. Sacatrapos is from VAB Accounting Consultancy Services, a member of Acpapp Bulacan Chapter. The opinion of the writer does not reflect in any way the opinion of these institutions.

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